Acquisitions help Airbnb target disabled travelers, ad performance

Airbnb is leaning on third parties to expand and improve its guest experience. (No terms were disclosed behind either of the transactions, but both acquisitions represent a clear evolution of Airbnb’s brand strategy to fill in the gaps of what it can offer on its own.)

Airbnb, the industry’s largest home-sharing company, acquired two new companies: Accomable, an accommodations marketplace for disabled travelers, and AdBasis, a testing tool for advertisements. No terms were disclosed behind either of the transactions, but both acquisitions represent a clear evolution of Airbnb’s brand strategy to fill in the gaps of what it can offer on its own.

As a technology company that is unable to exert any control over its hosts, Airbnb is aware that it lacks the ability to provide a consistent guest experience on its own. For this reason, the company has been partnering with third parties to fill in its operational gaps. Partnerships with companies such as Sonder, Pillow and TurnKey to automate marketing and other operations for Airbnb hosts, consistency in its product offerings and improve interactions between hosts and renters.

Hosting for All

Airbnb has been criticized by hoteliers and consumers for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s a valid criticism—it’s also one that is nearly impossible for the company to comply with across the board. Rather than stipulating that its hosts all become compliant with the ADA, it’s possible that Airbnb’s partnership with Accomable will help the home-sharing company curry favor with these travelers.

Accomable is based in the U.K., and was founded in 2015 by Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, two world travelers who both suffer from spinal muscular atrophy. Due to their own difficulties locating accessible lodging, as well as accessing reliable information regarding their concerns, they formed Accomable. Airbnb will incorporate Accomable’s listings in more than 60 countries in the coming months, and Madipalli will be joining the Airbnb team as well.

In addition, Airbnb will be providing “accessibility checklists” for its hosts to assist in disabled travelers’ booking decisions. The new features allow hosts to designate whether their listings have step-free entry into rooms, entryways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and more. The changes also extend to Airbnb’s website, which will include improved color contrast, redesigned text and a partnership with Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired to run future studies and tests to inform later improvements.

Flexible Ads

Meanwhile, Airbnb also acquired adtech startup AdBasis, which developed a platform and dashboard for ad testing and optimization. The company was co-founded by Jason Puckett and Joe DiVita of Chicago, but the company’s leadership have relocated to San Francisco.

AdBasis describes itself on its website as a “controlled testing environment and analytics tool for companies to conduct A/B and multivariate tests on search, display & mobile ads.” The company’s tools allow companies to track revenue and how changes to an ad’s content, bidding, targeting and more affect its performance. The company can also create statistics based on this data to assist in leading future campaigns.

“We’re thrilled to share with you that as of November 13th, 2017, AdBasis has been acquired by Airbnb. As part of Airbnb, our team will continue to pave the way in digital creative testing & optimization technology,” AdBasis said in a release. “We look forward to continuing to change the way the world views ads.”